Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Son Of A Slave

I'm afraid I can't post quite so often anymore - my family's back from Africa, and the IPL is on (I've been starved of cricket for so long!) - so I'll try to post some proper treats when I get the chance. First of these is a hard-to-find record by one of my favourite artists: 'Son Of A Slave' by Michael Anthony.  I really rate this tune: I picked it up years ago off the same mailing list as 'I Love The Way Jah Makes Me Feel' by the Tonals and 'Living In The Slum' by Well Pleased & Satisfied - still one of the best parcels that's ever landed on my doormat.

Michael Anthony cut 5 or 6 records in the mid-seventies, and they are all wicked. He's not the greatest lyricist, but he more than makes up for it with his heartfelt delivery, really superb rhythms and beautiful dubs. If you like this, look out for 'Living In Sorrows' and 'Sinner Man'.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Two Sides Of Joe White / David Scott

It's hardly surprising that a lot of singers can play an instrument, or deejay. After all, if you can tell when your guitar's in tune, you should be able to tell when your voice is too. We've already met Joe White in a previous post; not just a very good singer, but also a pretty decent organ, piano and melodica player. He recorded instrumentals for a number of producers including Glen Brown, Rupie Edwards & Derrick Harriott.

This first record shows off some of his vocal talents. 'Ain't Misbehaving' is a straight cover of Fats Waller's signature tune, produced by Rupie Edwards. The singer's on good form here, sweet-voiced and riding a nice upbeat rhythm. Rupie Edwards' productions often feature really lovely guitar (like 'It's Time To Be Free', 'High Society' or 'Another Pleasure') and this is no exception. The b-side is straight soul and is also very nice.

Next up we got the UK issue of 'Call Me Trinity' by Joe White & the Crystalites. This was one of a whole series of western-themed instrumentals that Derrick Harriott put out at the start of the seventies. It's a tribute to Bud Spencer and Terence Hill's finest film (apart from 'They Call Me Nobody') - would you believe that Bud Spencer was once an olympic swimmer! (or that he later became a lawyer and politician)

On the b-side, we have 'Monkey Drop' by Scotty, aka David Scott, a talented singer and pioneering deejay who recorded all too little during his early-seventies heyday. As far as I know, all of his deejay tunes are collected on a compilation called 'Unbelievable Sounds' that came out on Trojan a while back - highlights are the title track, 'Draw Your Brakes' ('Stop That Train') and 'Skank In Bed' ('Breakfast In Bed' - that, Lorna Bennett's, and Dusty Springfield's vocal versions are all dynamite).

Let's finish with a taste of David Scott the singer - a really fine self-produced rocksteady tune that he recorded with the Federals, called 'You Better Call On Me' (aka 'Shocking Love'). The Federals were only around for a couple of years in the late sixties, and after they split up two of them (Scott and Franklyn Spence) joined the Chosen Few.

The other side, 'In This World', is only so-so; but honestly, who cares?

I hope you enjoy these - we've been on a roots tip for a while now and I need to take a break from the heavy stuff. Anyway, here's the intro to 'They Call Me Trinity' - it's a seventies thing, we used to love all this.


BTW, thanks Lala for the Mawal, that clip of Asala is a gem - what a moment to have a brain freeze!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

mawal = موال

inspired by steve's upgrade of the site, here's a few favorite tunes of mine, roots from a different yard,

ok this is the mawal style - kind of bluesy and soulful, not sure exactly what mawal means or where it's from, but it's sung across the middle east, often as an improvised intro to a tune.

mawal doesnt feature high on the arab pop charts, and seldom seems to get released in the west.these are gathered from obscure corners of the web, & so i can make no apologies for the very patchy quality!

1. so we start with asala, the nightingale of damascus, no1 diva of syria, forgetting the words in front of an all star audience (also available on youtube!)

2. hussam al-rassam from iraq, classic lament for basra,

3. salah_abdul_ghafoor_-_hechat_heya - also iraqi, i think, o dear a miserable tune about love

4. couple of oldies from abdu el-iskandrani, who i know nothing about at all... sounds egyptian maybe from alexandria? no idea what sort of vintage... titles should be:
موال - أهل الكرم - mawal - ahl il karam
باب الحظوظ - baab al hazouz

any feedback will be appreciated, enjoy!!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Nice Roots

I'm afraid I can't tell you too much about today's tune: it sounds like it was by a UK-based band and I seem to remember having a picture sleeve for it. Anyway, it's pretty good IMHO and I'm hoping you enjoy it.

By the way, if you listen carefully to the dub you can hear the lead vocals leaking back in.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Love Rasta

Here's a great tune from an almost-forgotten singer by the name of Gideon Jah Rubbaal - I'm posting it in the hope that it might inspire a few people to go out and get one of the reissues that came out last year. He was a seriously conscious artist who put out a handful of releases on his own Jah Rubbaal label in the mid to late seventies before fading from view.

You can check out the CD (called 'Free Us Now') at any number of places - it's well worth the effort.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Lyrics Man

Max Romeo is one of reggae's great songwriters and this tune, 'Heads A Go Roll', showcases that talent really well. It's mostly based on chapter 5 of the Epistle of James; it may seem simple, but it takes real skill and vision to refashion the original scripture into a great song like this.

Givin' out my warning...
Now you rich people listen to me
Weep and wail over the miseries
That are coming, coming up on you
Your riches have rotted away
And your clothes have been eaten by moth
Your gold and silver is covered with rust
And this rust will be witness against you
And eat up your flesh like fire
You have piled up your riches in these last days
But heads a go roll down Sandy Gully one of these days
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully that's what Marcus says

Your life here on earth have been filled with luxury and pleasure
You have made yourself fat for the day of slaughter
You've not paid the men that work in your fields
The cries of those that gather your crops
Have reached the ears of Jah, Jah Almighty
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully one of these days
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully that's what Marcus says

Dog up a Beverley Hills a eat T-bone steak an' drink cornflakes
While poor people in the ghetto a rake an' scrape to get a cake

Be patient my brother be patient as a farmer is patient
As he waits for the autumn and the spring rains to water his crops
You also must be patient and keep your hopes up high
Happy are those who greatest desire is to do what Jah Jah require

Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully one of these days
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully that's what Marcus says
Bald head a go roll down Sandy Gully one of these days
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully that's what Marcus says
I say; you look, you look, you look and you can't see...
I said; you listen, you listen, you listen and you can't hear... 

This song was released on the LP 'Revelation Time', and has been re-released by Blood & Fire on the the CD 'Open The Iron Gate'. This features the whole of the original LP, plus both sides of 'Jehosephat The Lost Valley' (absolutely indispensible), 'Every Man Ought To Know' (beautiful poetic lyrics) and the 12" version of 'Melt Away', and is one CD that every reggae lover should have. 

Incidentally, there's a great interview with Max Romeo here.

Cheesy Chariot

I make no apologies for liking 'Ride A Wild Horse', Chariot Riders doing their take on Dee Clarks' 1975 pop hit, although I realise it's not everyone's cup of tea. This version is mostly instrumental, with the arrangements staying pretty close to the original, and Kim Harriott sings just the chorus with a bit of backup from Derrick. The band, as always, is really tight and the synth is on overdrive.

This wasn't the first reggae version of one of Dee Clark's songs. Derrick Morgan did a version of 'Hey Little Girl' on the Jackpot label (personally I like it better than the original, plus it had a nice cut to Roy C on the b-side). 

For me this is just a really enjoyable tune (it sounds like it might've been quite fun to record as well) - but then I love that sort of crossover stuff that Derrick Harriott used to do; tunes like 'Fly Robin Fly' and 'Hey Mister'. 

Saturday, March 06, 2010

More Synth

Thanks to the Voice of Reason for reminding me about 'Mo-Bay Special'. I always liked this tune with its ruff funky bass, mad synth and unusual drum pattern. This isn't the cleanest copy, but it's still well worth a listen. I think that one side's been included on one of the Soul Jazz compilations.

Richard Ace mostly didn't just do instrumentals; he could sing as well. He did a really, really great version of Ben E. King's 'Supernatural Thing', which I recommend looking out for.

Stripping The Bone

Today's second tune is an awesome roots instrumental featuring Vin Gordon on the trombone. It's very heavy and has a great Tubbys mix.

The b-side is also great, with Tubby in full effect.  It's done in the same sort of style as those 'Dub Conference' LP's that Harry Mudie put out around the same time.

Send Me Over There

Here's a nice roots tune from the mid-seventies: 'Send Me Over There' by Junior Ross & The Spears. I've always liked this - particularly the guitar and the treatment that the drums get in the dub.

Junior Ross had a really good voice and recorded about an album's worth of top-notch tunes for Tapper Zukie. It's all been re-released on Blood & Fire together with Prince Alla's 'Heaven Is My Roof' - one of the strongest sets that's come out on that label. Love it!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Medley Mood

Here's a tune I've had knocking around for ages - a medley of 6 hits of the late 60's and 1970 called 'Take It Easy With Six'. It's by Keith Smith, who hardly ever recorded under his real name - he's the man the world knows as Keith Poppin. This was one of his very first solo outings, and he went on to record classics like 'Same Thing For Breakfast', 'Get Together', 'Envious' and 'Hold Not Thy Peace' as well as a whole lot of other high-quality but less well-known songs.

This one is on the same 'Picture On The Wall' rhythm track that was used in that Pat Satchmo song I posted a couple of months back. Although I can't name all the songs in the medley, 'Take It Easy' is in there (obviously) and so is 'Cool Collie'.

The b-side is 'Mother You Are Old' by Young Al Capone (aka Dennis Smith, no relation) - Alcapone's not at his best here, but it's quite an interesting tune all the same.

Incidentally, Keith Poppin has a very good compilation that he's been selling through Ernie B's and CD Baby. He hardly got paid for any of his music the first time round, so if you like his voice and fancy contributing to his pension it's well worth searching out.  Here's an interview with him - quite interesting -  and here's his website.

Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Funky Chariot

I've got a treat for you today - but it has to be played LOUD. Here's 'Do It Nice & Easy' by the Chariot Riders, Derrick Harriott's take on a song that originally came out of Eddie Drennon's 'Collage' LP. It has some seriously funky bass, militant drumming, bubbling guitar and cheesy disco organ; all topped off with vocals by Derrick and Kim Harriott (Kim was his niece).

I really like the mix on this one, especially the bits where the guitar in your left ear is plays off the organ to your right. I recently saw this selling for £40 online - personally I think the seller's a bit deluded, although if they hang around long enough they might just find a buyer and prove me wrong.

The changes to the blog layout are a result of me having time to kill while waiting for the laundry yesterday. As part of this, I've made it easier to leave comments. If we end up drowning in comment spam with links to dodgy Taiwanese porn sites (we've already had that one) we may decide to change back again.